NHS investigators are looking into potential conflicts of interest after a luxury trip hosted by a pharmaceutical company for representatives of two Surrey NHS groups.

Naeed Hussain, from Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), and Linda Honey, head of medicines management at North West Surrey CCG joined 10 other senior NHS staff for two nights at the German spa town of Baden Baden last month.

There they were treated to rooms at Belle Epoque hotel - which, according to Paul Jerram from Isle of Wight CCG who apparently arranged the whole trip, boasts gold-plated wastepaper bins - as well as £500 per day attendance fee.

Surrey Downs CCG is made up of 33 GP practices and has an annual budget of £300 million to commission healthcare for 290,000 residents living in Epsom and Ewell, East Elmbridge and Banstead and Mole Valley.

Naeed Hussain is primary care pharmacist at the CCG. A spokeswoman for the organisation said it did not currently have a public register of staff interests or affiliations but that this was something they were working towards making public in the near future.

James Blythe, its director of commissioning and strategy said: "We take our responsibilities for managing conflicts of interests extremely seriously and where employees of the CCG have other interests these are fully declared and carefully managed in line with our own robust governance policies.

"Where employees seek to engage in work outside of the CCG we ask that this is discussed with us and that if other work is undertaken, any interests are declared.

"With potential new products it is not uncommon for pharmaceutical companies to engage pharmacists and other NHS experts in the research and development phase, providing individuals are open and transparent about their involvement, as in this case.

"This staff members’ independent work with this pharmaceutical company has been declared and the individual has not been party to any discussions or decisions relating to the company or its products.

"The product discussed at this event, Cosmocol a product used to treat constipation, was added to our prescribing advisory database in June, before this event took place."

Georgia Lewis, media officer for the Keep our St Helier Hospital campaign, questioned the trip and said: "I do smell a rat here. Outsourcing of services is an ongoing issue and when the people paid to make the decisions start accepting trips like this it does make you wonder.

"They work on our behalf, they should be un-influenceable, and yet here they are living it up on drug companies’ expenses. The question I ask myself, is what did they hope to achieve by that?"

Lauren Ter Kuile, communications officer for Surrey Healthwatch which has been in existence for two years to hold the local NHS to account, said: "No evidence has come our way and no one has been in touch to suggest there was anything untoward about this trip.

"We do expect the commissioning process to be open and transparent at all times, however, in this case no wrongdoing appears to have taken place."

The group NHS Protect investigates potential conflict of interest cases involving NHS employees and hospitality from external organisations, as well as fraud cases, although there is no suggestion any crime has been committed by this trip.

A spokesman for North West Surrey CCG said: "Following recent media coverage into potential conflicts of interest by NHS employees who accept hospitality and remuneration for consultancy services from external organisations, NHS Protect, working in partnership with the police wherever necessary, has launched a full investigation into every case identified by the media.

"NHS North West Surrey Clinical Commissioning Group, in line with all NHS commissioning and provider organisations, is fully complying with NHS Protect on all aspects of this investigation. 

"NHS North West Surrey Clinical Commissioning Group has robust, nationally aligned policies and procedures in place to ensure that all CCG employees comply with the high standards of business conduct required of NHS staff."

He was unable to confirm how long Linda Honey had been part of its organisation but did say that a declaration of members’ interests and hospitality was included each year in the annual report which is available to the general public.